Volunteer fire companies reimbursed for Snowvember aid

ELMA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Some local volunteer fire crews are being reimbursed for their efforts during last year’s November storm. They’re receiving checks to help with funding after get had to dip into their own pockets.

This aid is coming 11 month after that rare November storm shut down many communities. When storms come through though, first responders don’t stop.

“It was exhausting,” said Lt. Jeffrey Lovetro with the Elma Fire Company.

He said during the storm in November 2014 that dumped 7ft. of snow onto some onto some communities, the Elma fire station became his home.

“We pretty much spent the whole week here,” said Lt. Lovetro. “Sleeping on cots in the hall, manning the phones and listening to radios.”

The Elma fire company usually responds to around 5 to 7 calls each week. That week during the snow storm, they responded to more than 60. With the company having around 30 volunteers- they couldn’t do it on their own that week.

“We had companies from out of the area come in,” said Chief Betsy Goinski with the Elma Fire Company. “We housed them, fed them. They took our calls.”

“They would be family for us as well,” said Lt. Lovetro. “It was great to see an outpouring of help and camaraderie between companies who barely knew each other existed.”

The money to pay for all of those people and extra assistance came from the company’s general fund. They applied for aid and Friday, they received a surprise, a check for thousands of dollars to help.

“It is reimbursing the department for barricades we had to purchase to shut down the roads through the town of Elma,” said Chief Goinski.

Receiving any kind of pay surprised the chief. This isn’t the first time they’re seeing some recognition for the role they played during the storm. The town gave them a special vehicle – an off-roading ATV — as a thanks and a way they can get around in case a storm comes again.

“If things come along to help us out, it’s greatly appreciated,” said Lt. Lovetro. “But you can’t look at it to receive some generous reimbursement.”

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